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July 13 2011

HOW TO: Turn Fans Into Brand Ambassadors

The Behind the Social Media Campaign Series is supported by Oneupweb, an award-winning agency specializing in search marketing, social media and design for mid-to-enterprise level brands. Download Oneupweb’s free whitepaper, “Measuring Social Media’s Contribution to the Bottom Line: 5 Tactics.”

The introduction of Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point in 2000 was a tipping point in its own right. Ever since that book was published, marketers have been obsessed with cultivating influencers — those members of the public whose messages go further than most.

The Tipping Point preceded social media as we know it today, but Gladwell’s model of “connectors + mavens = marketing success” fits well in the age of Twitter and Facebook. For a marketer, the mission is pretty simple: Find a bunch of influencers, get them charged up and then sit back and reap the rewards.

Of course, it’s not that simple. Just look at the range of brands in the market. On the one hand, there’s Apple which has a cult-like following that is so pervasive and dedicated that it doesn’t even need to be on Twitter or Facebook. But if you’re marketing something less buzz-worthy, like paper towels or frozen pizza, you might find that cultivating brand ambassadors is a bit more tricky.

Nevertheless, experts on social media marketing have a few tips that any brand in any category can use to create a devoted following. Here are a few.

Rate Your Fans

Dave Balter, the CEO of BzzAgent, a word-of-mouth marketing agency, says the first thing you should do is take stock of your existing fan base. “Understand who is a fan and who is already an advocate,” he says. Of course, there are tools on the market, like Klout, that let you do this. Audi USA is one of the first brands to integrate Klout scores on its Facebook Page, letting you earn a desktop or a ring tone based on your score.

Klout uses an algorithm based on various factors to create its rankings, but it’s tempting to try to short-circuit the process by looking at which fans have the most followers. Balter says a better metric is sharing: “It’s important you place value on elements like how often they share and how often others engage with what’s shared. Another, simpler way of identifying potential brand advocates is to simply ask them how likely they are to recommend the brand to a friend. When rated on a 1 to 10-point scale, that is known as the “Net Promoter Score.”

Give Them Something to Do

Getting people to “like” your brand on Facebook is great, but you still have to generate discussion and activity. That can be fairly easy to achieve. Last year, for instance, Oreo got its fans to weigh in on a Pandora playlist, and Philadelphia cream cheese spurred conversation by soliciting ideas for recipes and offering how-to videos.

Another, simpler, way to create engagement is by asking fans questions. “You have to create a compelling dialogue,” says Paul Longo, vice president and group digital director at MediaVest, a media-buying firm. Such give-and-take should fit in with a brand’s image and make the fans feel like insiders who “get” the brand. Here are a couple of recent status updates from the Skittles candy brand’s Facebook Page. Both got tens of thousands of “likes” and thousands of comments: “If you drop Skittles on the floor, you should abide by the 3 million-second rule,” and “I need to stop adopting every octopus that follows me home.”

Use Exclusivity

Give your fans exclusive opportunities to make them feel special. For example, Walmart has been known to court mommy bloggers by flying them to its Bentonville, Arkansas headquarters and letting them test new products. On the other side of the marketing universe, Howard Stern lets his self-proclaimed “Superfans” host a call-in show on Sirius XM’s channel 101 once a week. “One quick way to turn someone into an advocate is to ‘bring them into the fold’ and to help them feel part of the deeper community,” Balter says.

Pamper Your Advocates

Walmart doesn’t just give its Walmart Moms exclusive products and experiences. The company also hosts a blog and YouTube channel for them, using its huge media reach to reward its most loyal brand advocates. Similarly, Oracle has a program called Oracle ACE that spotlights various IT pros as Oracle experts. SAP’s equivalent is the SAP Mentor Initiative, which recognizes SAP experts and gives them a forum (an SAP site plus a YouTube channel.)

Go Up a Lifestyle Level

So if you don’t market new computers and smartphones, how do you get people to care about your brand? Jeremiah Owyang, a partner at Altimeter Group, calls this practice “going up to the lifestyle level.” For instance, it may be hard to get people excited about a tile cleanser that gets rid of soap scum, but keeping a house clean and germ-free is something people can feel passionate about. That’s exactly what Lysol, the disinfectant spray, is doing. The brand has more than 460,000 fans on Facebook, whom it engages with live chats and tips on how to keep your house clean.

Beyond those basic tips, MediaVest’s Longo suggests something counterintuitive: Doing nothing. At least for a while, he says, let your fan base breathe a little bit and avoid heavy-handed interactions. “In general, brands are so caught up in the technology because it’s so cool right now,” he says. “But don’t rush into anything.”

Series Supported by Oneupweb

The Behind the Social Media Campaign Series is supported by Oneupweb, an award-winning agency specializing in search marketing, social media and design for mid-to-enterprise level brands. Download the Oneupweb sponsored Marketing Sherpa free study, “Measuring Social Media’s Contribution to the Bottom Line: 5 Tactics” to learn how to cut through the clutter and be sure to catch up with them on Facebook and Twitter.

Images courtesy of Flickr, bnilsen, navets, Daehyun Park and iStockphoto, terraexplorer, Yuri_Arcurs

More About: 360i, altimeter group, Behind the Social Media Campaign Series, facebook, Malcolm Gladwell, MARKETING, twitter

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June 29 2011

5 Innovative Facebook Campaigns to Learn From

The Social Marketing Series is supported by Campaigner®. Campaigner® email marketing enables small, medium and large businesses to strengthen customer relationships and drive sales by connecting to their customers quickly, simply and affordably. Visit www.campaigner.com to learn more.

If you’ve tried to run a campaign on Facebook and were frustrated by its poor results, you’re not alone. Facebook‘s ads have a pretty poor performance record and its ads continue to be cheap, though plentiful.

The good news is that Facebook is working hard to improve its ads’ performance. The company continues to experiment with new ad formats and has lately cozied up to the ad community with Facebook Studio, a forum for new campaigns that features a directory of ad agencies.

The idea is that marketers can learn from each other as they try to navigate Facebook, which is terra incognita for everyone since it’s so new. In that spirit, here are five recent Facebook campaigns that offer some instructive examples on how the platform can be used to amplify a message or interact with consumers in a new way.

1. “Infinity” — Batelco

Bahrain Telecommunications Co., a.k.a. Batelco, isn’t going to give Apple a run for its money in the name-recognition department anytime soon, but for those interested in social media marketing, it’s the little brand that could. You may recall that Batelco’s “Infinity” video made the short list of favorite TED ads earlier this year, but the Facebook aspect of that campaign is just as notable.

Batelco aired two trailers for the video in movie theaters and online in September 2010. To spread the video even further, Batelco’s app included a prompt for users to activate their webcams and take pictures of themselves reacting to the video. The picture was then posted on Facebook (with the user’s permission). Next, the company and agency FP7/BAH disseminated information about the making of the video. Realizing that all the target customers were online, Batelco also set up kiosks in malls and airports letting consumers see the video. As a result of the exposure, Batelco gained more than 200,000 fans on Facebook. More than 70% of Bahrain’s Facebook community are fans.

The Upshot: Batelco bet heavily on a viral video and it paid off, partially because the video itself is so compelling, but also because it provided a means for people on Facebook to add something to the experience.

2. Fashiontag — Flair Magazine

Flair, a Belgian women’s magazine, observed that women check out each other’s wardrobes in real life and figured that might be the case online as well. That reasoning prompted the creation of Fashiontag, an app that lets users identify their friends’ clothing in Facebook pics and ask a question about the item. The question also was posted on the friend’s wall.

Those conversations then ran on a Fashiontag Page on Facebook. The best ones ran in the magazine. According to Advertising Age, after the app launched on March 22, the magazine’s Facebook Page got a 35% bump in fans, to 23,000. Best of all, this was done on the cheap: The app only cost about $35,000 to create.

The Upshot: Flair created a genuinely useful app and one that tied in with its brand mission. As a result, the title not only got attention, but found a new way to interact with readers and create content.

3. Comida Kraft — Kraft Foods

Kraft introduced Comida Kraft, a recipe website targeted to Hispanic consumers, in 2001. Nine years later it launched a Comida Kraft Facebook Page as well. Kraft stepped things up in May 2011, by enlisting Mexican celebrity chef Alfredo Oropeza, which boosted the Page’s fans by 38%. But Oropeza isn’t just lending his name. In July, Kraft is planning three livestreamed video chats with the chef, during which participants can ask questions in real time. In November, Kraft is planning to give Latina moms who subscribe to Comida Kraft recipes by email — those who subscribe to the Comida Kraft Mobile Club will get free exclusive access to additional recipes and videos on their mobile phones.

The Upshot: Kraft, working with digital marketing agency 360i, has added new activities to engage its Facebook fans. The addition of a celebrity chef and exclusive access gives consumers a reason to become fans and gives fans special access.

4. The Squeezing Smiles Machine — Prigat

The problem with a lot of branded Facebook Pages is there’s nothing to do there. Israeli juice company Prigat not only gave its fans something to do, it put them to work. Prigat set up an app that let fans activate an orange juice machine by smiling. (The company used face-recognition technology to recognize those smiles.)

It turns out, a lot of users were up to the challenge. More than 20,000 users uploaded photos of themselves, which led to 30,000 “likes,” (a 300% jump in growth). More than 40,000 oranges were also squeezed during the effort — the juice was given to charity.

The Upshot: Bridging the real and the online world can spark some interesting ideas. Asking users to smile also ensured that the program was fun.

5. Your Very Own Mad Men Ad — Mad Men Season 4 in the Netherlands

Here’s the pitch: Don Draper and his team have a new assignment — an ad about you. But first they have to know a bit about you — what kind of car you drive, what’s your drink of choice, that kind of thing. Next, they need a picture of you. Then you get to see a few mockups of ads about you. When you settle on one you like, you post it to your site. The best ads will run in the Dutch magazine BLVD Man and on billboards in Amsterdam.

The campaign, from an agency called Greenberry, launched in June to promote the premiere of season 4 of Mad Men in the Netherlands. So there you have it: a promotion for a show about advertising that creates advertising about you that might actually run as a real ad somewhere. Is your head spinning yet?

The Upshot: This promotion stays true to the concept of the product it promotes, but involves consumers in the process as only Facebook can.

What other innovative Facebook campaigns have you seen? Let us know in the comments below.

Series Supported by Campaigner®

The Social Marketing Series is supported by Campaigner®. Campaigner®’s Smart Email Builder makes it easier than ever to create professional looking email marketing campaigns and affords multiple ways to grow and manage lists, integrate with CRM, and utilize campaign metrics and reports to increase results. For more information, please visit www.campaigner.com or watch a product demo today.

More About: 360i, facebook, MARKETING, Social Marketing Series

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May 09 2011

What’s Behind the Food Photography Trend? [INFOGRAPHIC]

It turns out there’s some truth to the common Twitter put-down: A lot of people go online to talk about the sandwich they just ate. But they’re not just talking about it, they’re photographing it.

Why? In many cases, people are documenting their lives — or at least the gustatory portion of it. There are other reasons, too. Sometimes, it’s to celebrate the completion of a dish or a special occasion. Some folks are photographing “food art.”

At least once a month, 52% of people take photos with their mobile phones; another 19% upload those photos to the web. There’s enough of that group practicing “foodtography” to support the website Foodspotting, as well as a 2,500-member Foodtography group on Flickr. Photoblogging apps like Instagram and the latest, photo-enabled version of Foursquare are likely to further fuel the trend.

Reasoning that marketers should pay more attention to such nonverbal web communication, interactive agency 360i recently did a deep dive into the data and found a few constants. One: People are almost never in the pictures; only 10% of hundreds of photos that 360i analyzed for this infographic included human beings. Two: It’s rare to see any brand mention — that happened just 12% of the time.

So what are we to take away from this? The agency isn’t completely sure, but according to a blog entry posted Monday, it sees a huge opportunity for brands. If you’re a marketer who’s hungry for new insights, this might be a good place to dig in.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Lara604

More About: 360i, flickr, foodspotting, foodtography, instagram, twitter

For more Social Media coverage:

April 14 2011

The Impact of the Social Web on Media Agencies

The Modern Media Agency Series is supported by IDG. Marketers and media companies have a lot of opportunity in the social Web. IDG Global Solutions President Matt Yorke says marketers can do it themselves or work with a publisher that is a trusted source for their prospects.

Facebook was born in 2004 as a simple directory of profile pages for Ivy League students. Twitter emerged one year later, imploring people to chirp what they’re up to. When these social platforms launched, few people understood the promise they held for marketers and the opportunities they would bring for brands. Five years later, we have Facebook Pages, branded Twitter accounts, pimped out YouTube pages and badges on Foursquare.

Social media has had an incredible impact on a brand’s marketing program, but often the brand works in tandem with a media agency to perfect its communication and create its approach on these innovative new platforms. Social media has forced agencies to work quicker, longer and harder — all while keeping up with the newest Facebook features and location-based app. Its impact on agencies and their work can not be underestimated. We spoke with three agency representatives who describe exactly how social has affected the way their agencies work.

In a roundtable discussion, Mashable spoke with (pictured above from left to right):

Let’s start by defining a media agency because there seems to be overlap in Venn diagram among social agencies, media agencies, marketing agencies and advertising agencies — is that blurry to me because I’m not in it, or is it blurry to everyone?

Kroll: We used to talk about media agencies primarily in terms of about print publications and television. About 10 years ago, we started to see a shift to digital. … In the last few years, with the real blossoming of Facebook and the evolution of Twitter, social media has become more of a player in how brands are engaging with consumers through social media. And just like 10 years ago when [agencies] were thinking about how to integrate digital, we’re now starting to think about how to integrate social in our strategy as well as our campaigns. And technology is moving incredibly fast.

Owens: We’re not a media agency, we’re not a developer. The lines between what an agency does have been blurring quite a bit, and social media has exacerbated that because social is a pervasive layer. A lot of stuff happens under our roof, and it’s a lot harder to draw a box around who does what, even within our own organization, let alone with our partners.

Berkowitz: Really, it comes down to defining “media.” And now social media is an incredibly important part of the media, and it has changed the nature of what a media agency is.

When Twitter and Facebook started becoming widely used, was there a resistance to embrace it in campaigns?

Berkowitz: In 2006, a lot of the questions we were getting from clients were things like, “Should we be blogging? What’s MySpace?” We got H&R block to be one of the first brands on Twitter. It wasn’t common yet, but we figured that if it made sense for clients, we would do it, even if we didn’t see it as a realistic revenue stream yet.

Owens: We certainly had to hit a level of critical mass, but after that point, we just saw it as a space in which to innovate. We saw people being creative in those mediums and wanted to align with that creativity and inspire and incentivize it … so we drove our clients strategically into them. From very early stages, [Facebook and Twitter] were part of the way thought about connecting and doing things that were engaging.

Kroll: We try to look at where the consumers of our brands are and how best we can carry on a conversation with them where they are. Even in the earlier days, a lot of fans created pages [for brands] on Facebook, and the question changed from, “Do we get involved here?” to “How do we engage with them where they want to be and how do we help create the environment for them to converse with the brand?”

How does social media fit into a campaign –- is it something you tack on at the end or has it become integral to the campaign?

Kroll: It’s thought of as an integral piece. When we’re creating a campaign, we think how social is going to play into that and how we’re going to measure it to make sure it’s impactful. And we want to create an experience that’s shareable — that’s social. Especially as Facebook Pages evolve to emulate the user profile page, brands are becoming more personable -– consumers are engaging with a brand as someone they know, so we try to keep that experience going.

Owens: Social is pervasive in everything we do — I can’t think of a project in the past 12 months where it hasn’t been an assumed part of the exercise. And even where you don’t think you’ll find social media, there is a social media layer on nearly everything, and that’s just a function of the technology being available. Any exercise that we do increasing an experience for a brand in this day and age includes social media. It just has to.

Berkowitz: Social is pretty well integrated in terms of what we do. Early on, the social media group co-opted the customer insights team, which integrates feedback from social, whether it’s a specifically social program or not.

How does your agency structure the social media team? Is there one point person for each project?

Kroll: We don’t really have a separate social media team. … It’s been ingrained within our culture. We try to live by integrating it throughout, so Mediavest is really proud of the fact all that all of its strategists and planners are cross-athletes who understand mobile and social and digital, so it’s become a part of the overarching, holistic planning process. In that way, I think we’re a little different than [Razorfish and 360i], since we’re involved in developing the overarching strategy, whereas these guys get to play with the nitty gritty of the campaign.

Owens: We’re a bit of a hybrid. We do have social experts who drive that portion of our business, but they’re not able to be on every team. Consequently, each team member, whether he’s in planning or UE or creative is, as Kroll says, “a cross-athlete,” but we pull in those experts when need be.

Berkowitz: We do have a growing social media team — we now have more than 20 community managers. Having people who know what to say and when to say it is a lot different than anything else that other people are doing. Digital word of mouth influences marketing, so we’ve brought on people who are building a lot of relationships. And then we have social media strategists and digital media strategists, but as someone who works with all of them, I have a harder and harder time knowing who’s who — that line’s blurring a lot.

Kroll: You used to be able to see very delineated pillars between what was accessible via mobile or web or television, and now the platform is sort of becoming agnostic — it’s more about the behaviors that people are doing through their preferred platforms. Because of that I think we’re seeing social become more of a horizontal engagement instead of being pillared into a separate section.

Are the teams at your agency less delineated than they used to be?

Owens: I think a lot of agencies are still ramping up their social staff — as David mentioned, in community management — and those people tend to be more delineated for us as well. But at the strategic level, it is becoming less delineated. Everything is driven from the same insights and business objectives, and then you farm out production responsibilities to specialists or where the best skill sets lie — but that’s farther down in the tactical process. So in some ways it’s more blurry, and in other ways it’s more distinct because there are certain skill sets that are growing.

What social platforms are winning out with clients?

Berkowitz: For a lot of our clients, the default communities are Facebook and Twitter, and then there’s YouTube. We have constant discussions about Foursquare, and then there are flavor-of-the-month platforms. In the CPG and shopping spaces, Shopkick comes up a lot — we’ll see if that’s still the case in six months. In the next month, I imagine that most of the meetings will mention Color. We’re seeing a lot of interest in GroupMe and Beluga after SXSW. It varies by who the client is, what makes sense for them and where all the buzz is.

Owens: I’m finding increasingly that success is driven by two things — the category that you’re in and the consumer segment you want to talk to. For Mercedes Benz, we found a terrific connection with brand enthusiasts on Twitter, and we’ve arguably found a great connection with loyal brand owners on Facebook. Then Mercedes uses private communities for people who really want to pierce the veil of the brand. It depends on what consumer segments you’re trying to reach, and we’ve definitely found nuances between the platforms.

Kroll: I would agree with that. A majority of our brands are on Facebook, but you have to think about where their consumers and brand advocates are and where they’re already having these discussions — and then find organic ways to integrate into the conversation without it feeling forced or unnatural.

How else has social changed the way your agency works?

Kroll: Social media has changed the way we think about campaigns. Campaigns used to have a start date and a stop date, and with social media, it becomes more of an always “on.” You can’t engage in a conversation and then just drop out of it, because you have people who are engaged with you.

Owens: The mistake that agencies made from a consumer experience standpoint 25 years ago was to separate creative and media into two silos — social media has exacerbated that need to bring those two back together because consumers want to experience things that marry the two. When I do a creative brief to our team, I’m briefing tech, UE, creative and media all at the same time — and that’s because of social media. I’ve noticed a whole lot more war rooms –- people used to be comfortable in their cubes and you’d do the waterfall approach, [but now it's more collaborative].

Another thing that’s changed at Razorfish is the speed at which we work. The pace of producing content has become much faster and there’s a 24/7 approach to getting things out there — social media is something that can not wait. We do trends analysis almost on a daily basis now. … From a research, planning and creative interaction standpoint, we’re always on and always tapped in to the pulse of the audience. And that fundamentally changes the way we plan against creative and media executions. The Rebecca Black experience could come and go in a matter of weeks, and it could be a great opportunity for a client to add to the conversation, but you don’t have a month to figure out how to execute it. Social changes us as an agency, and it challenges the client to change, too — client approval processes have been condensed.

Berkowitz: A few years ago you could get away with people being “too cool” for social media. … You can’t have people like that around anymore. They need to get the core changes in consumer behavior and time spent online and mobile and social media. You need everyone to appreciate what’s happening, and ideally taking part in it.

With all the new tech and startups, how does everyone stay up to speed?

Owens: We have specific social media experts in every regional office, and they are constantly bringing in partners and doing lunch and learns about new technologies, and we have training schedules that allow people to deep-dive into topics that interest them. We also have “affinity groups” that are like an extracurricular activity so you can explore something that interests you –- non-profits and social media or location-based services.

Kroll: We do the same — we bring in people who are doing interesting technologies and we have conference calls and lunch and learns and bring in brand teams to think about how they use a technology and discuss what’s coming down the road. It’s collaborative and curious, and it’s fascinating to watch.

Berkowitz: Training and learning is a bigger and bigger investment here. We do lunch and learns and we have a bar in the office, so companies can come sponsor happy hours. We also use internal wikis and video-training modules, and we do “Bagels with Berky” every other week for people who want to wake up a little early and talk about the newest innovations. In the last one, we talked about Color, and Facebook Polls and Google +1 will be talked about in the next one. That’s one of the biggest changes at the agency — we’re all doing do much and consuming so much and the phone is always ringing, so carving out time to really think is one of the biggest challenges we have, even though it benefits us so much.

How do you think your agency will change in the next 5 years?

Kroll: During the dot-com era, knowing HTML was a skill that could get you on the fast track, but now it’s something you need to know in order to deal with digital, and I think the same is true for social. It’s still so new that being able to grasp it and not only understand how to set up a Page, but the nuances of engaging and the larger marketing and media picture allow you to have a strategic advantage. But 5 or 10 years from now, that will be so commonplace. There will be some other cutting edge material.

Berkowitz: We’ve evolved from a search marketing agency to a full-scale digital marketing agency. The biggest change that’s now bearing through is the role of mobile and how that’s playing a much different role than social did. For us, anyone coming onboard is going to need to have some appreciation for and familiarity with mobile marketing. We’re including mobile as part of every major program we’re planning. Within a few years, everyone in every department will need to understand the implications and opportunities in mobile inside and out.

Owens: Right now we’re at a point where it’s still very valuable to have social media experts, so these folks are tapped into all the tech innovation and platform innovation, ans we’ll bring them in to spur and inspire some of the ideation. But in the future I think we’ll hire fewer experts and more generalists.

I also predict a much smaller agency. Tech is allowing some of the more day-to-day tasks to be more efficient and automated, and consumers are becoming part of the creative process with us, so the burden of creative processes may go down a bit as we start to co-create. I think [the agency] will become a more strategic core or nucleus of individuals who are finding ways to engage consumers, without having the big research methodology.

Series Supported by IDG

The Modern Media Agency Series is supported by IDG. Marketers and media companies have a lot of opportunity in the social Web. Start by identifying social influencers in your industry or product category and participate in conversations with appropriate content and links. IDG Global Solutions President Matt Yorke says marketers can do it themselves or work with a publisher that is a trusted source for their prospects.

More Social Media Resources from Mashable:

- 5 Fresh Digital Media Trends to Watch
- The PR Pro’s Guide to Twitter
- How Tasti D-Lite Has Raised the Bar for Social Media Success
- 9 Digital Marketing Lessons From Top Social Brands
- HOW TO: Get the Most Out of Facebook and Twitter Promotions

More About: 360i, Agency, color, digital marketing, facebook, foursquare, Mediavest, Modern Media Agency Series, Razorfish, shopkick, twitter, youtube

For more Social Media coverage:

March 31 2011

How the Pros Measure Social Media Marketing Success

The Modern Media Agency Series is supported by IDG. With the explosion of mobile devices, advertising dollars will begin to shift to mobile for tech marketers this year. IDG Global Solutions President Matt Yorke explains why these trends should not be ignored.

The notion that marketing costs can’t always be understood is an ancient one. John Wanamaker, a department store mogul who died in 1922, once mused, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

The same could be said for social media marketing. Though there are a lot more metrics than Wanamaker could have imagined back in his day, the tricky part is determining the right ones to use. Is it retweets? Facebook Likes? Or maybe just product sales?

To get a sense of where social media marketing metrics are right now and where they might be going, Mashable recently contacted some people on the front lines. The group we chose includes:

  • Sarah Hofstetter, senior vice president of emerging media and brand strategy at 360i
  • David Rosenberg, director of emerging media at JWT
  • Dexter Bustarde, senior web analyst at Digitaria.

    • From left: Sarah Hofstetter, David Rosenberg and Dexter Bustarde

      A lot of campaigns seem aimed at accruing Facebook Likes. But is that success? What’s the point?

      Dexter Bustarde: Earning a Facebook Like, by hook or by crook, is a success, but it’s a success at a very tactical level. If I have a client with a campaign completely focused on getting Facebook Likes, I’ll do what I can to show that this tactic should be working towards a broader strategy (using Facebook to tell people about your brand), which in turn should drive towards a business goal (getting people to spend money on your brand). Far too often, I’ll see Facebook campaigns that are very successful at getting a lot of Likes during the campaign, but I’ll have no concept of what to say to people after the campaign is done. When you earn yourself a Facebook Like, you’ve successfully opened up a line of communication with a potential customer and his or her friends. What you communicate after that is where we should look for real lasting success.

      David Rosenberg: The value of a Facebook Like is directly connected to the anticipated actions the brand hopes its newfound followers will take on behalf of the brand. Is bigger better? If the brand is engaged in social selling or F-Commerce, then this more traditional CRM approach might lead a brand to goals such as include a large following. However, if the brand is looking to attract its most loyal fan base to use for product development, R&D and research, the quality of the fan reigns supreme over the quantity.

      Sarah Hofstetter: The question you’re posing is actually interesting in and of itself. The question above referred to Facebook Pages as a “campaign,” but Facebook is a platform for ongoing conversation, which is really not a campaign at all. Putting your brand on Facebook — or any other online community — is an invitation for conversation, not merely a reach-and-frequency play, and it shouldn’t be measured as such. In fact, the whole premise of Pages is that they’re free real estate from Facebook where you still have to earn attention. Depending on your objectives, you may be interested in inviting lots of people to a continuous mass event, and you’ll even pay to get them there in media or coupons; or you’d rather focus on quality of engagement to foster a real relationship with the people who matter most, and invest your efforts in getting a continuing dialogue going between yourself and your consumers — and even better, connecting fans of your brand to each other. Ultimately success is defined by objectives.

      What about Twitter? How do you measure success there? If it’s the total number of mentions, how do you take into account negative sentiment?

      Hofstetter: Twitter is interesting because the way people use it can vary. There are broadcasters, there are “listeners” who follow and read groups of tweets in some sort of aggregated way (celebs, friends, news, etc.), and then there are a select few who do both … and actually have conversations. Influence + mentions = second degree followers, which is why influence can be both a positive and a negative.

      Rosenberg:There are different ways to measure success. If you are a news organization, watching a news link spread organically is a measure of awareness, engagement and traffic drivers. But if you are a luxury brand engaging in an influencer program, having the “right” people share your content may be your tactical goal. Having clear business goals and tasks will help solve for the approach a brand should take.

      With regard to total mentions and negative sentiment, it’s a larger discussion. The use of conversation monitoring tools can help you get an estimation to some degree. But when dealing with natural language and slang, its important to hand-sample and depend on automation.

      Bustarde: If we frame Twitter (and social media in general) in the context of real world conversations, it becomes a little easier to understand how we should measure successes or failures. You want to know a few things about how people talk about you in the real world. Ideally, you want to know that they’re talking about you to begin with. Once you know that they’re talking about you, you want to know what they’re saying and how much they’re talking about you. If they’re getting some piece of information wrong about you, you want to make sure that they get it right. If they’re complimenting you, you want to thank them. If they want to ask you a question, you want to answer it. When we look at it that way, we realize that success can happen at a bunch of different levels. Do we want to know if we’re successful at getting people to talk about us? Go ahead and measure the number of mentions. Are we successful at curbing negative sentiment? Well, that’s a trickier question. In the context of a real world conversation, if we overhear somebody saying something negative about us, we don’t (typically) leave the room and go write a press release. We respond and have that conversation about what we did to upset the other person. What could we do better? Trying to “measure” that process almost wastes time that should be spent actually talking to our not-so-happy customer. With that understanding, in the face of negative sentiment, it is much more straightforward and useful to hold yourself accountable to a success measurement like “time to respond” instead of some difficult-to-measure metric like “sentiment.”

      Are there certain approaches that seem to work better for different media? For instance, if you’re a new brand trying to create awareness at any cost, does getting Charlie Sheen to tweet for you make sense? But how do you go about it if you’re already well known and want to change the way people think about you?

      Bustarde: First off, if you got Charlie Sheen to do anything for you, you are working in the realm of warlocks and tiger blood — stuff well beyond traditional analytics. That said, the marketing person in me likes the idea of doing something to get yourself noticed. The crisis management person of me cringes at the thought of “at any cost.” If we really buy into the idea that social media is just a series of conversations scaled up to an almost-ridiculous level, we can go about changing perceptions by understanding how people are talking about us now and how we’d like for them to talk about us. For some brands expanding within the same vertical — say, a clothing brand branching out into shoes — this might be just a new topic that our social media presence touches on. For a brand undergoing a more drastic change in terms of new vertical or shifting perception, we may consider starting a whole new social media persona complete with a new Twitter presence, Facebook presence and so on to really distinguish it from what people used to think.

      Hofstetter: The approach to social media marketing is the same that it would be for any marketing, except in this case people talk back at scale. How you align your brand in social media — and who you align with — would go through the same considerations as you would for any other marketing mechanism.

      Rosenberg: The potential speed of the content spread may be alluring to some less risk-averse marketers. Twitter has the power to ignite fast content sharing, while more closed networks may make the recommendation of content seem more trusted and therefore worth spending time with.

      A lot of Facebook programs require you to like the brand, which seems a bit disingenuous. Would it be better if Facebook provided another way for consumers to note their interaction with the brand without “liking” it, or does “liking” work pretty well?

      Rosenberg: It depends on the value exchange. Achieving a higher level of status or entitlements may be worth it for some consumers assuming those levels or opportunities are really perceived as valuable. Consumers always have a choice, so the pressure is really on the marketers and their brands to over deliver on the value exchange.

      Bustarde: Even if there were a way for customers to note interaction with a brand, marketers would (and probably should) make the effort to get people to “like” the brand. The disingenuous part is for a marketer to really believe that these people truly “like” your brand. You can pay somebody to pretend to be your friend, but that’s not to say they’ll be there when you really need them.

      Hofstetter: “Liking” is a relatively low barrier, so if you communicate value up front and make it clearbefore they become a fan, they’ll oblige. Getting them in the door is just the first step, though. Convincing them to stick around is harder. Getting them to engage and share is even harder. A recent study showed many reasons why people “unlike” brands, and it’s largely tied to overmessaging and lack of relevance. Twitter lets you create lists of people or brands without having to follow them. This way, you get information without expressing a public affinity.

      Do clients generally come to you with stated goals for a given social media campaign or do you have to educate them? I know it probably varies, but what’s the primary response right now?

      Hofstetter: Relative to other forms of media, social media is still new for brand marketers. They know it can help solve their business problems, but some still get distracted by the bright shiny objects — objectives tied to large fans, huge followings and viral apps — so it’s up to people like us to demonstrate how this medium can be used to help them based on their brand, their consumer, the competitive environment and the nature of the medium. Sometimes that is a large number of fans because it’s clearly aligned with their objectives and they have the right brands and programs for it, and we do that every day for many brands.

      Rosenberg: They have goals in mind and it’s important that we demonstrate that there are real, meaningful connections between what we can achieve in social media and what they consider traditional goals. Making those attributions is critical so that you can set the stage for proper measurement and prove success when you achieve it.

      Bustarde: The most common goal is probably the most honest goal as well: Use social media to drive awareness of my campaign. The part that needs education is the strategic question: How do we do that? The trick then is in demonstrating that social media is successful at building awareness. Do we just look at web analytics numbers like referrals from social media? Well that’s only part of the story. The rest of the story is where clients usually have more challenging questions.

      How do you see social media measurement evolving? Will there be a standard way to measure it soon?

      Hofstetter: Albert Einstein once said, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” There is tons of data in social media — and in digital in general — and it’s up to us to make sure that what we’re counting is aligned with solving the business challenge. The trick with social media measurement is not to get wrapped around the axle trying to compare social media reach with GRPs, but developing proxies for brand measurement that are more aligned with objectives and how these specific programs actually help the business. We’re breaking new ground daily, and benchmarking becomes a challenge when you have nothing to benchmark against because you’re officially the standard. Our job is to make sure that we’re setting KPIs that are aligned with objectives at the outset of the program and coming up with metrics that are aligned with those KPIs and tracking success from there.

      Rosenberg: There are some tried and true standards that need not be thrown away. It’s possible to derive multiple attributions from the same metrics. For example, commenting on a Facebook post can be attributed to awareness as well as, potentially, purchase intent if the post was directly correlated to a product offering. There will be an introduction of standards over time, but for now making these attributions will be the right steps to marry some of the older models with the new ones.

      Bustarde: In the relative short term, I see social media measurement evolving into more distinct practices. Depending on who you ask, social media measurement could mean anything from PR and reputation management to Twitter reports to broad “engagement” measurement to looking at Facebook Insights day to day. In truth, all of those things should inform a social media measurement program, but at the same time, if we’re talking standardization, it’s a lot of work to get it all under one umbrella.

      At a much higher level, I see social media measurement (and web analytics in general) gravitating towards standards that businesses can really get behind. Things like CPM can be applied to social media, but it’s been the extra promise of being able to measure things like sentiment and share of voice that have kept the really smart people from integrating very basic marketing needs in a truly meaningful way. If my message goes out on a TV commercial, a radio spot and my social media presence, we currently have very rough ways of measuring success on two of the platforms (TV and radio) and a hundred and one ways of measuring success on social media. Still, TV and radio measurement tie smoothly to things like ROI and deciding on budgets for a marketing spend and for whatever reason the simpler (and less accurate) measurements end up being more trusted. Social media will get there soon enough.

      Series Supported by IDG

      The Modern Media Agency Series is supported by IDG. With the explosion of mobile devices, advertising dollars will begin to shift to mobile for tech marketers this year. Ad networks, ad exchanges and real-time bidding significantly expand marketing options and underscore the importance of data. IDG Global Solutions President Matt Yorke explains why these trends should not be ignored. Read more.

      More Media Resources from Mashable:

      - 5 Fresh Digital Media Trends to Watch
      - Facebook’s Growing Role in Social Journalism
      - Let Your Friends DJ a Party Via SMS, Twitter or E-mail
      - Music Discovery App Mocks Your Musical Tastes
      - The Influence of Social Gaming on Consoles

      More About: 360i, digitaria, facebook, JWT, Modern Media Agency Series, ROI, social media, twitter

      For more Business & Marketing coverage:

February 15 2011

Oreo Tries To Set Guinness Record for Facebook Likes

The race is on for Oreo to achieve a somewhat obscure boast: a Guinness World Records entry for Facebook likes.

The brand started pursuing this goal at 9 a.m. ET today and hopes to establish a new record since no current one exists. Guinness World Records people, however, set the bar at 45,000 likes within a 24-hour period. This morning, the Kraft-owned brand started the ball rolling with a post asking the brand’s 16.6 million fans to set the “likes” record. An hour or so later, Oreo seemed well on its way with more than 30,000 likes.

A rep for 360i, the agency that worked on the project, says Oreo has a lot of global fans and that this is a good way to get everyone on the same page, so to speak. “We wanted something that was truly global and that all our fans could participate in,” the rep says. Oreo is one of the top five most-engaged brands in social media, according to Famecount.

Oreo’s social media push is the second high-profile use of Guinness by a marketer this month. Last week, Mitsubishi released videos on YouTube showing its Outlander and Outlander Sport all-wheel drive vehicles breaking five Guinness World Records in 24 hours.

For Oreo, the stunt is a clever use of social media that is not without its risks; falling short of the goal could be embarrassing. Since that prospect seems unlikely, the attempt will no doubt spur copycat attempts. For future record breakers, here are a few social media areas that Guinness tracks.

Image courtesy of QSR Magazine

More About: 360i, facebook, oreo

For more Business & Marketing coverage:

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